As a consultant, I am privileged to work with high performing teams all over the country. In my travels, I’ve seen three common elements present in every high performing team: Excellence, Honesty, and Morale. If you want your team to perform at the highest level, strive for these three things to be present.
Excellence – Great teams are committed to doing the best on every occasion. They aren’t satisfied with two or three big wins every year; they want every project to be a big win. This is not a commitment to perfection because that’s unrealistic, but it IS a continual striving for perfection because that always gets excellent results.
Honesty – On high performing teams, members always know where they stand. An honest team member is honest about his/her own failures. The team member is committed to never surprise the team by always confessing his/her failure before the rest of the team finds out about it from someone else. An honest team member is also honest about other’s performance as well. When something is not up to the expected standard, honest team members will point it out. Members of the team aren’t offended by this and don’t take this kind of criticism personally. Rather, they are encouraged by it because it will help them bring about excellent results next time. Honesty dictates that team members are accountable to one another for open debate, transparent confessions, and high standards.
Morale – High performing teams are made up of people who support one another. They recognize and appreciate one another’s hard work and success. They cheer one another on and celebrate every win every time. They don’t wait for the once-a-year appreciation banquet to share encouragement and celebration. Rather, they do this in small ways every day. Celebration is a regular part of the high performing team’s culture.
Most importantly, regarding these three elements, high performing teams have leaders who embrace and embody all three! Leaders must set the pace. If you are leading a team and not getting the high performance you desire, examine yourself. Are you holding the excellent standard high? Are you being completely honest with your team, even when it hurts, and allowing them to be completely honest with you? Are you regularly building your team’s morale? Set the standard. Talk about these three things with your team. Make them a part of your culture, and you’ll see high performance as a result.